So, you want to study Silat - II

Discussion in 'Silat' started by Bobster, Nov 16, 2006.

  1. Bobster

    Bobster Valued Member

    If you are contemplating a Pencak Silat school, or are a beginning student, the following is to help you so that you don't critically injure yourself the first few years:

    1: Silat is a unique art, and it requires flexibility beyond most other arts, but not in the sense of kicks to the head or anything like that. You need to be limber and relaxed to accept the rigorous training methods many schools employ. To this end, I would first and foremost encourage you to take some Yoga. You don't have to become an advanced practitioner, but I have found that Yoga is the closest thing to the motion of Silat, and it will prepare your joints and muscles for the training.

    2: Get your cardio together. Jog, dance, just MOVE, but do it until you can keep up the pace for 30 minutes or so. Pencak Silat is all about body movement, so you won't be in a static stance very often.

    3: Practice going from standing to kneeling to squatting to standing again. Do squat thrusts, ducking exercises and high-low bobbing drills. Silat employs all body levels and you could be called upon to demonstrate any random pattern of them at once.

    4: Silat tends to be more violent than other arts. This can be quite the eye-opener at first, remember to take the training SLOW. Allow yourself some time to adjust to what is being asked of you, don't try to rush through anything. Slower will get you there faster.

    5: Attire: Go to your local sarong shop & buy yourself something pretty.
  2. hercules818

    hercules818 Valued Member

    Thanks for the praparatory silat tips Guru Bobbe.

    I think Yoga works wonders for most martial arts as it focus on range of motion and breathwork.

    What are some of the conditioning exercises in silat?
    I am guessing an emphasis on transitional stance work?
    Do you know if Pak Herman Suwanda taught any at his seminars?

    Any traditional upper body training?
    Finger/grip training?
  3. Bobster

    Bobster Valued Member

    Herc, that's a lot to summarize in one shot, but I'll give it my best.

    Silat styles share a commonality in technique. Let's say, Putera Kepala ("Head Turn"). Now, although almost every style of Silat has this, many approach it differently. Some twist the head from the outside of the attack, some from the inside, some do both, some do something different altogether. So, you have to accept that before you can accept the rest of what I write here.

    Some styles do inded have stance work, and teach the motion/fluidity relationship at a later stage. Others ignore the stances and dive right in to motion. I am a student of both schools of thought, and I find that they are equal in thier strong and weak points. Pa Herman did teach stance work, but not in the sense of sinking and rooting, such as you might have in a Japanese style like Karate. Stancework in Silat is normally something positional, to be used after an entry, not at a distance while "squaring off". You are correct in your assumption, it is transitional, a brief moment in between techniques. I have mentioned this before, and it's no big secret: Stances that train you to root and sink in your position are encouraging you to "stand there and take it", to try to absorb anything coming in as an attack, no matter how big or strong it is. You will often hear the adminition: "If your stance is correct, nothing can knock you down". Usually, this is an incorrect strategy in fighting, but nobody bothers to address this point. They keep thinking, "If I can just get my stance low enough/strong enough, I'll be able to fight."

    Conditioning exercises. Subject very worthy of debate. Conditioning in Cimande Silat is famous, it supposedly makes you impervious to cuts. Other conditioning is also used, such as the natural shin conditioning that occurs in Sapu drills. Muay Thai has a much more hardcore version of this, where they just crash the shins together. Also, working the staff forms in Silat will give you some good tone in your body, provided you work them diligently.

    There is "conditioning", and then there is "doing a thing into the ground until it is more detrimental than applicative". At what point do you slow down the conditioning? Will you jog until your knees need surgery? Will you smash your forearms against each other until you have calcium deposits the size of durians on your bones? Will you do breakfalls until you have a spinal contusion (like mine)?

    Conditioning, I have come to realize, requires an ADVANCED Guru to guide you through. It takes knowledge and experience to explain and control the amount of body conditioning your students do, because the adverse effects may not be immediately seen, maybe not for years later. But when they happen, THEY HAPPEN IN DROVES. You are fine one day, and cannot walk, talk, or feed yourself the next.

    ..And by then it's too late to do anything about it.

    There is not much in the way of grip training, in fact most of the exercises point towards sensitivity training over grip. Also, Mande Muda draws from several core styles as influences, for much the same reason I stated earlier: You have at least TWO points of view on any one subject at a time. NOrmally this will give you a good idea of the circumstances that a technique will work or fail miserably under.

    I hope this helped!
  4. tellner

    tellner Valued Member

    The Wisest Words My First Silat Teacher Ever Uttered:

    "Your ass is a finite resource."
  5. hercules818

    hercules818 Valued Member

    Thank you Guru Bobbe for your detailed reply.

    From what I have seen of silat, I am astounded that there are so many ways to enter, attack, and finish depending on the system.

    I am curious, is Bambang Suwanda's silat similar to Pak Herman's silat?
    How do they differ?

    Also, is the stick/blade training in your silat similar to the weapons training in kali? If not, how does it differ?

    Thanks very much for your input and yes your posts/website have definitely helped me tremendously.
  6. bernie

    bernie New Member

    Guru Bobbe

    Can you email me or call me ? as I have tried contacting you for weeks now leaving emails and messages with no success or replies. We need to talk ASAP. Thanks
  7. Rebo Paing

    Rebo Paing Pigs and fishes ...

    An informative thread! Thank-you.
    Just to put my 2 bits in, there is generally some misunderstanding I think with the idea of proper stance and of rooting.
    The idea of rooting (a CMA concept) does not mean being stable in one place so that a person can't be knocked down ... instead what it means is that during movement, the centre of gravity of the body-mass remains low, while the person is sure-footed in transitional movement (as required by the situation).
    The concept of rooting does not negate the idea of nimbleness. It must be as if during the brief moments that the foot touches the ground (a transitional moment in body movement) that there is an instantaneous rooting, an intimate contact and stability with the earth.

    The footwork has to be mantep with authority/ weight, not mlembang airy fairy :D .

    Standing in a stance for a period of time (done properly) introduces us to an awareness of which parts of our body need to relax to maintain maximum efficiency for maintaining body-mass-integrity in relation to gravity during movement.


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